Gun Rights and Responsibilities: Circling the Wagons

Rob Pincus will be on Fox News’s On the Hunt program today from 12:00p to 1:00p eastern talking about firearms rights and responsibilities.

I see lots of people talking about rights these days, but not so much discussion about our responsibilities as firearms owners. Similarly, I hear lots of people talking about how are rights should not be “infringed”, yet we accept infringements like background checks, getting permits to carry, restrictions on fully automatic and suppressed firearms. The gun debate going on in our country right now is very polarizing. I think we could move further in the direction that we want to go by adding a couple bullet points to the dialogue . . .

1.   We’re already “infringed.” Gun owners in this country already live under a number of restrictions, policies, procedures and laws that infringe on our right to keep and bear arms. We’re already in a Middle Ground when it comes to gun control. Guns are very controlled in this country already. Acknowledging that for the Anti-gunners and, more importantly, for those in the middle ground on this debate, is probably important.

2. Gun Rights come with Responsibilities. The next time you are talking with someone about your Rights as a gun owner, you should also mention the fact that you acknowledge your Responsibilities as a gun owner. I understand that The Constitution doesn’t say “Our right to Keep and Bear Arms comes with Responsibilities….”, but it is true none-the-less. You have the right to have a firearm for defense of self, family and country. You also have the responsibility to learn how to use it safely and store it responsibly. Mentioning the latter as frequently as you mention the former might go a long way to let those, at least those in the middle ground, feel a bit more comfortable with things as they are and a bit less likely to believe the rantings of the anti-gunners in regard to guns being used against owners, ending up in the hands of the deranged or that infamous network TV demonstration that “proved” gun owners can’t actually act to protect themselves.

Circling the wagons and digging in our heels in defense of our rights is exactly what we need to be doing. We also need to be taking any opportunity we have to engage in rational discussions with people who might not be on our side. It is easy to just sit inside that wagon circle with our fellow patriots and tell ourselves that “they” won’t listen. It is easy to cast aspersions on TV Show Hosts and Radical Politicians and convince ourselves that we need to be as extreme as they are because they’ll “never change their mind”.

In truth, there are tens of millions of American Citizens who are in the middle ground looking for real answers. Those reasonable, rational people who make up the voting public should be hearing more than rhetoric and  seeing that American Gun Owners are reasonable, rational people who understand the significant responsibilities that come with gun ownership and already suffer under significant restrictions. I fear that letting the extremists control the dialogue is a loss for us. If there are just a bunch of crazy people yelling at each other and making no sense, I might get the feeling that I don’t want them to have guns either. If the average American gets to that point, the crazies on the anti-gun side win.